The market for intelligent speakers worldwide will surpass 200 million devices in the coming year and keep increasing. As 5G networks are launched and available, the number is expected to grow even more.
What is this saying to marketers using thought leadership?
Many marketers don’t know what sonic branding is about. It’s not related to anything related to Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Drive-In restaurant or Sonic the Hedgehog video game though these brands have the chance of winning digital audio. Confident marketers know the task and are beginning to incorporate audio into their branding strategies. However, for thought-leadership marketers, audio technology may not be at the top of their list of priorities.
Sonic branding might be less well-known. However, for many small or large businesses, it is as crucial as the visual brand. In this piece, I discuss the ways B2C companies make use of audio in a limited way within their thought-leadership (TL) strategies. I will also discuss how this could help their image.
Define Sonic Branding
Sonic branding can be described as a technique where a particular music or sound is utilized to enhance the customer experience to help them connect it with a brand or product. It could be anything from a commercial song to an audio-based logo. Three kinds of sounds used in branding with sonics are human voice, non-human ambient sounds from the surroundings or instrumental music.
Digital sound can make brands stand out when customers are flooded with noise. It also allows brands to convey a message or to create a unique brand identity, unlike anything images and words can do. This is beneficial in boosting the voice of a company’s thought leader.
It’s The Rise Of Sonic Branding
Digital audio is booming due to technology. From voice interfaces to influencers of voice as well as voice analysis, there’s not surprising expert experts are anticipating the emergence of a “Sonic boom.” And not only this, but I also find FOMO (“fear of being left the mark”) a compelling motivator to marketers, and more so than before. It’s a safe bet that marketers will gradually become more aware of sonic branding.
Sonic branding is used in many ways:
- Sound related to product use (e.g. sound effects for starting or warnings about errors)
- Corporate messages (e.g. call-out music, voice message)
- Content recorded (e.g. pages for landing video, games and audiobooks)
- Live broadcasts (e.g. thoughts leadership podcasts radio)
- Voice assistant content (e.g., Alexa Skills)
- Applications for messaging (e.g. texts messages, emails, chatbots)
- Sites for people who are away from home (e.g. entry into retail stores or point of sale)
- Radio, digital, and TV ads (e.g. Jingles, etc.)
The majority of people are browsing and buying online using voice. Vocal shopping is predicted to be at the $40-billion mark in 2022. Smart speakers and voice-activated devices can help brands connect with a broader public.
The Benefits of Using Digital Audio
The most distinctive aspect of the sonic branding method is its capacity to entice consumers’ attention. It’s akin to a subliminal phrase, or image flashed before your eyes in just a fraction of one second. At first glance, the flash is never thought of. In their minds? Yep, it’s there.
Digital audio that is used to create the purpose of sonic branding can provide many benefits, such as:
- Defining and enhancing an identity for a business
- Differentiating service or product offerings
- Improving brand recognition
- Enhancing the emotional connection
- Transforming audio into actions
- Getting consumers to make a purchase
- Building brand loyalty
- Enhancing customer experience
Much like visual branding, sonic branding can penetrate the minds of consumers without even being conscious of it. Some of them are familiar with it. Are you familiar with that Oscar Mayer advertising jingle: “I Wish I Were an Oscar Mayer Weiner”? or, for the younger generation, McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it!” These top TV commercial jingles stayed in viewers’ minds–total “earworms”–possibly motivating them to want bologna and French fries.
How B2C Brands are Using Audio Technology Audio
A lot of companies make use of digital audio. Mastercard, as well as TikTok, have made considerable strides in their businesses through audio branding. There’s plenty to be learned from the two Titans.
Mastercard: Mastercard launched a brand based on this new strategy. Their sound-based brand identity was established in 2020 as a distinctive Mastercard tune played when customers are engaged with the brand through advertisements, store checkouts, and events for sponsorship.
In order to successfully implement sonic branding to be successful, you must understand your brand’s personality and your audience’s preferences. Create a plan of action that outlines how to utilize the sound. Collaborating with sound designers, develop unique audio and try it out with your targeted audience. Consistency and flexibility are the two most important problems; ensure that your sound is consistent across all platforms and can be adapted to various situations. A clear set of guidelines for usage and frequent audits can alleviate these problems and help strengthen your brand’s connections with the people who listen to it.
I’m witnessing thought leaders increase their budgets for the thought leadership campaign, and I am convinced that one of the primary sources will be Sonic in the coming years. Are sonic branding high on your marketing thought leadership top priorities?